I was art surfing this afternoon and came across something new/old. My grandfather, Ken Adams, was one of the original Taos Society of Artists. I was looking at one of his teachers/contemporaries, Andrew Dasburg, and I came across this article:
It was kind of cool to read about him as a young artist. I have another monograph on the man I’m named after and it was an eye opener. See, I only ever knew him as Grandaddy Ken who I used to go fishing with in the mountains of New Mexico. The monograph (as well as the fist fight story on the web link) paints a totally different picture of him than the one I knew. He was quite the bohemian world traveler complete with numerous tragic love affairs. There’s a part in his biography where he writes one of his lovers and tells her he can’t commit to her because it would detract from his art. It’s nice to know 24 year olds were just as full of crap in 1921 as they are today.
I grew up with his art all around me and it never really sank in until a few years ago just how profound an influence Ken had on me. There are echoes of him throughout my work. My mother often comments how much she wishes he could see what I was doing today. Given my own spiritual beliefs, I kind of think he does see what I’m doing and I often feel his spirit with me in the studio.
At some point I’ll add a gallery here that details a lot of his work. The picture here in this post is one of my favorite paintings of his, “The Dry Gulch”. If you google “Ken Adams New Mexico painter”, you’ll get a ton of his work. The featured picture at the head of this post is of Ken in his studio painting a Navajo mother and daughter. Much of his work was straightforward, unblinking depictions of the New Mexican indigenous people very much influenced by Thomas Hart Benton as well Dasburg, O’Keefe and the other Taos artists.
BTW – look up Dasburg, too. Phenomenal American version of cubism. I was looking at him because I’m doing a three day Plein Air workshop and I’m thinking of using his work as a jumping off point for some of my own new work.